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O’Death | Broken Hymns, Limbs and Skin

Kemado (2008)
By BARRY THOMPSON  |  October 28, 2008
3.0 3.0 Stars

A theory: present-day hipsters grew up thinking they hated country. Later, during their explorations of underground music, they perceived that what they really hated was Wal-Mart’s vision of country. Hence the “Americana/roots” revival. (We can’t call it a “country revival” because of the redneck overtones.) O’Death, from the rural backwater town of New York City, are a little bit country and a lot more calamitous power-folk. Urgently eerie hollerin’, fiddlin’, and banjo pluckin’ plus the occasional use of hardware-store percussion amalgamate into an unholy hybrid of Carnivale and Deliverance. If some weird sensory muddling would allow you to brush your fingertips across these songs, a splinter-removal kit would prove indispensable. Audacious tempo shifts and phantasmal murder narratives in “Vacant Moan” (a re-recorded version of “Spider Home”) and “Low Tide” complement this alluring wreckage. Makes you wonder how long it’ll be before metalheads start showing up at O’Death shows — if they haven’t already. When it comes to production values, Broken Hymns is a marked improvement from 2005’s self-financed Head Home. Still, songs kinda meant to evoke the 1930s aren’t necessarily better or worse off with snazzier studio treatment.

O’death + Hoots & Hellmouth + Keys to the Streets of Fear | T.T. the Bear’s Place | 10 Brookline St, Cambridge | November 2 | $9 | 617.492.BEAR

Related: On the Racks: May 15, 2007, Frontrunners, True voices, More more >
  Topics: CD Reviews , country, Kemado, T.T. the Bear’s Place
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